Walker Percy

The Liberal Religion

Some time ago I argued in a magazine column that liberalism has developed in recent decades from a rigidly secular political philosophy into a this-worldly religion with its own more or less developed though unsystematic dogma based on faith and a reciprocal concept of heresy, its own unwritten creed and sacramental system, a loose rhetorical [...]

The Lighter Side of Suicide

“People rarely joke about suicide.” ~ Dr. Aaron Kheriaty The whole world is mourning Robin Williams. He was a gifted comic; he made people laugh and smile, think and squirm; he shared his talents with the world and the world is better as a result. Williams’ gift for comedy makes it all the more startling [...]

Cause for Mirth: The Return of Abbey Brewing to the United States

Beer is another one of those testimonies to how the Catholic Church built European civilization. It is true that brewing was widely practiced in the ancient world, but the process was very primitive, even as simple as soaking a loaf of bread in water. Modern brewing practices grew up within Benedictine monasteries, where beer provided [...]

Why We Study “Useless” Things

“You amuse me: You’re like someone who’s afraid that the majority will think he is prescribing useless subjects. It is no easy task—indeed it’s very difficult—to realize that that in every soul there is an instrument that is purified and rekindled by such subjects when it has been blinded and destroyed by other ways of [...]

Redeeming the Dreary

One of the fundamental characteristics of modernism, that cultural shift in the way we see the world, ourselves and our condition, was the celebration of the ordinary – ordinary life, ordinary work, ordinary people and the ordinary things they do. Not everything about the “modern movement” – which began over a hundred years ago – [...]

The Sin of Selling Caskets

A while back on the blog, we had an interesting discussion about Catholic funerals and paring back the lavish accretions that seem a mandatory part of the modern funeral industry. By way of an alternative, several commenters mentioned St. Joseph's Abbey in Covington, LA -- a monastery that supports itself in part by building and [...]

Walker Percy?

I know--something must be wrong; I'm writing, and it isn't a Sunday. So.  A Catholic friend and I were discussing novelists the other day, and the name Walker Percy came up.  I hadn't heard more than his name before that time, but he sang his praises to the sky.  Novels like Love in the Ruins, [...]

‘Chickens Have No Myths’

  In the early 1970s, the Catholic novelist Walker Percy (1916-1990) wrote an introduction to a manual for Louisiana State University's mental-health services, where he was then teaching a course on "the novel of alienation." In what is possibly the most learned and humane of such introductions -- usually prime examples of bureaucratic boilerplate -- [...]

Sense and Nonsense: A Good Answer

The other day I received from Terry Hall at Catholicism in Crisis something of an assignment. During Lent, it seems, Terry had been reading The Private Prayers of Lancelot Andrewes. A certain passage kept recurring in them which went, in the Morning Prayer, "A good answer at the dreadful and fearful judgment seat of Jesus [...]

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